Geek Chef

I cook, I talk, I geek

Special Request July 14, 2009

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 10:03 am
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Twitter friend Nick has requested recipes with a Spanish flair and I aim to please. Tapas are great for parties, you can impress your guests with several small dishes without spending the whole day in the kitchen. These two recipes are pretty easy and one should be done ahead of time, allowing you to enjoy your guests.

Ceviche

1 lb shrimp, salmon, octopus, halibut or sea bass (or combination)
Juice of 2-3 limes
1-2 jalapenos, chopped fine
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large firm tomatoes, diced
1 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro

Clean and roughly chop seafood and place in a large container with lid. If working with octopus, tenderize the meat before chopping. Juice limes, add oil and jalapenos and lightly mix with seafood. Let sit for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Before serving add chopped tomatoes, avocado and cilantro, season with salt and lemon juice as needed. Serve on a tostada or with corn chips.

Plantain and Black Bean Empanadillas

1 can refried (or whole) black beans
1 large ripe plantain (black or close to it)
1 package puff pastry
4 oz crumbled goat cheese
1 onion, chopped

Defrost puff pastry and preheat oven to 350.  Peel and slice plantain and saute in butter until soft, mix in beans and cheese and let cool. Roll out pastry dough and out cut circles, spoon some of the mixture on each circle, top with a little onion  and fold dough over. Be careful not to overfill the empanadillas, they will burst while cooking. Use fingers or a fork to seal the edges and place on a baking sheet, I like to line mine with parchment paper but you can grease the sheet if that’s easier for you. Bake until golden brown and lightly sprinkle with paprika.

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what to do with old bananas? October 1, 2007

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 3:12 pm
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I have a few things in mind…

Plantain Empanadas

1 small Poblano chile, roasted, peeled and seeded
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup cold Refried Black Beans
2 ripe plantains, unpeeled
2 ripe bananas, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
2 scallions, white and some green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 cup Crema
1/4 cup grated Anejo, Romano or Feta cheese
1/4 cup grated Manchego or Feta cheese
Creme Fraiche or sour cream for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut a lengthwise slit in each plantain and set it on a baking sheet. Bake until the flesh is thoroughly soft and oozing through the slit, 40 to 50 minutes, Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the stuffing: Finely dice the poblano chile. Combine with beans, scallions, cheeses and pepper in a mixing bowl. The stuffing can be made up to a day in advance. Peel, trim and discard any tough ends from the plantains. Combine the plantains, banana and salt into a food processor and pulse until a smooth puree is formed, or mix until just blended. Be careful not to overwork the dough, or it will become too starchy. Wrap in plastic and chill about 2 hours.

To assemble the empanadas, roll 2 tablespoons of the dough lightly between your palms to form a ball and flatten to the size and shape f a tortilla. Place about 1 teaspoon of the bean stuffing on half of the dough circle and fold over to enclose, pressing the edges to seal. Place the stuffed empanadas on a platter and chill at least 30 minutes or as long as a day. (Stuffed empanadas can also be frozen).

To cook the empanadas, heat the peanut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Fry 4 to 6 empanadas, at a time, shaking the pan constantly, about 1 minute per side or until dark brown all over. (If they darken too quickly, as they may if very ripe plantains were used, lower the flame slightly). Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with Crema, Creme Fraiche or sour cream for dipping.

Bananas Foster Ice Cream

4 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 ripe bananas, peeled and cut lengthwise into halves
1/4 cup banana liqueur
1/2 cup dark rum (recommended: Myers’s)
1 quart cream
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar

In a large pan, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Add the bananas and baste them with the syrup for 2 minutes. Pull the saute pan off the burner. Carefully add the banana liqueur and rum. Place the pan back on the stove and shake the pan a couple of times. The pan should flame, if not, ignite the pan with a match. Shake the pan back and forth until the flame dies, basting the bananas continuously. Remove from the heat and cool completely. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the banana mixture and puree until smooth. Set aside.
In another saucepan, add the cream and bring to a gentle boil. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar together until pale yellow. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture and mix thoroughly. In a steady stream, slowly add the egg-cream mixture to the hot cream remaining in the saucepan. Continue to cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Whisk the banana puree into the cream mixture and mix thoroughly. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill thoroughly. Process in an electric ice cream machine according to manufacturers’ directions.

 

Menu for my housewarming August 3, 2007

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 9:54 am
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It’s a potluck, but I think it’s customary for the host to provide some munchies, usually the main course. I was thinking lasagna, I make a damn good lasagna, but I’m kinda tired of it. So I was thinking tapas. And since this is happening during a meteor shower, it seems fitting that all of the items I will serve look like little meteors (lumpy balls, tee hee).

Here is the menu… doncha wanna come and play?

Walnut and Blue Cheese-Coated Grapes / Dates

Recipe courtesy of Gourmet Magazine and then altered a bit

1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

6 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

8 ounces crumbled Cabrales (Spanish blue cheese), Roquefort or Gorgonzola may be substituted

6 ounces cream cheese

20 loose seedless red grapes (about 1/4 pound with stems)

½ lb dates

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. On a sheet pan spread out the walnuts and toast in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Melt butter and add sugar, when sugar has melted pour in the toasted walnuts and toss. remove and spread out again on the cool sheet pan.

In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the blue cheese and the cream cheese until smooth. Put one tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the palm of one hand and in it roll a grape, shaping the mixture around the grape to coat, repeat the process for the dates. Cover the grape and date balls and chill on a sheet pan for 15 minutes.

While the balls cool, chop the candied walnuts into smaller pieces, you can also use a rolling pin and break them into peices. Roll the cheese-coated balls in the walnut mixture to cover completely and chill for 30 minutes or until coating is firm.

Spanish Meatballs baked in tomato sauce (adapted from the Albondigas recipe)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 can of tomato sauce
1 bouillon cube and 1 cup water
1 zucchini, cut into large chunks
1 large carrot, sliced
1/2 lb of string beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound ground turkey
1 cup of cooked white rice
1 raw egg
1/2 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dried oregano, crumbled
1 tablespoon of brown gravy mix
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Prepare meatballs. Mix rice into meat, adding mint, gravy mix, salt and pepper. Add raw egg. Form beef into 1-inch meatballs. Return soup to gentle simmer. Add meatballs and remaining veggies to soup. Cover and let simmer for 1/2 hour. Add a few pinches of oregano, cilantro and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place meatballs in a dish and prepare sauce.

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and minced garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Sauté veggies until tender, add tomato sauce, onion and garlic mixture and broth. Pour mixture over meatballs and bake until meatballs are brown.

Plantanos Rellenos

1 plantain, very ripe
1 can black refried beans
corn starch

crema fresca
cilantro
diced onion
cajota cheese

Mash Plantain, place some mashed plantain in hand and spread into palm. Drop a small amount of black bean into the middle and wrap plantain mixture around the beans. Drop balls into corn starch and then deep fry.
Serve with crema, crumbled cajota, diced onion and chopped cilantro.